Description of Historic Place
The Mount Pleasant Cemetery, located at 703 Mount Pleasant Road, is situated on the southwest corner of Mount Pleasant Road and Burtch Road, in the former Village of Mount Pleasant, now the County of Brant. The property consists of a cemetery established in 1802.
The property was designated, by the County of Brant in 2006, for its historic and architectural significance, under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act (By-law 179-06).
The Mount Pleasant Cemetery lies within the Grand River Tract, which was granted to the Six Nations under the leadership of Captain Joseph Brant, in 1784, as part of the Haldimand Deed. In 1880, Joseph Brant ordered a survey of the 5000 acre Mount Pleasant Tract, making it the first organized settlement, within the Grant River Tract. Land for the public cemetery was granted in 1802 and the first recorded burial took place the same year.
The Mount Pleasant Cemetery is the final resting place for many of the area's pioneer families. It was the only cemetery in the area, until a second one was established, in 1845. The people buried in the Cemetery are significant to the history of the County of Brant because of the roles they and their descendents played in the social, economic, institutional and political development of the area. Among the buried are Herbert Biggar, the first M.P.P. for the South Brant Riding; Reverend John Bryning, who was instrumental in building the social order of the community through his ministry; and Esther Phelps, the wife of Epaphras Lord Phelps, Joseph Brant's secretary.
The Mount Pleasant Cemetery is an important representation of the community's history and is recognized by a cemetery dedication, decoration and memorial service that is organized annually by the local churches.
The oldest grave stones in the Mount Pleasant Cemetery are located in the western section of the cemetery. The majority of the markers are creamy marble with intricate designs. Children's markers are small and often adorned with images of lambs and doves. The burial sites of adults and prominent individuals are larger and display draped urns-of-life and hands pointing heavenward. The most common image is of a Weeping Willow, which is a standard expression of sorrow. Biblical inscriptions which appear on the headstones represent the religious affirmation of the early settlement period.
Source: County of Brant By-Law 179-06
Character defining elements that contribute to the heritage value of the Mount Pleasant Cemetery include:
- location within the Grand River Tract, granted to the Six Nations under Captain Joseph Brant
- location within the Mount Pleasant Tract, the first organized settlement within the Grand River Tract
- gravestones which commemorate Mount Pleasant pioneers.
- original marble gravestone monuments, with their surviving inscriptions
- range of sizes of gravestones which indicate the age and social status of the community members
- gravestones with a variety of intricate designs including lambs, doves, urns-of-life, hands point heavenward and weeping willows and biblical inscriptions